Aviation

Airbus delivers first A350 XWB to Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al Baker poses during the hand over ceremony of the first Airbus A350 for Qatar Airways in Toulouse, southwestern France, on Monday. After years of delays, Airbus delivered its first A350 wide-body jet Monday, to Qatar Airways. The A350 XWB is intended as Airbus’ best hope for catching up in the long-haul market that is dominated by Boeing's 777 and 787, but has been plagued by delays and a multibillion dollar revamp.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al Baker poses during the hand over ceremony of the first Airbus A350 for Qatar Airways in Toulouse, southwestern France, on Monday. After years of delays, Airbus delivered its first A350 wide-body jet Monday, to Qatar Airways. The A350 XWB is intended as Airbus’ best hope for catching up in the long-haul market that is dominated by Boeing's 777 and 787, but has been plagued by delays and a multibillion dollar revamp. Associated Press

Airbus has delivered the first all-new midsize widebody A350 XWB aircraft to its launch customer Qatar Airways.

It’s a milestone for the program.

The delivery came seven years after Qatar placed the first order for the new aircraft type, which has a carbon fiber fuselage and wings, at the Paris Air Show.

Spirit AeroSystems has responsibility for the design and manufacturing of the plane’s center fuselage and wing components, including the front spar and fixed leading edge.

Spirit builds the composite center fuselage at its facility in Kinston, N.C., then ships the segment to its plant in Saint-Nazaire, France, for assembly and delivery to Airbus.

“Today we celebrate with Airbus and Qatar Airways as we recognize our talented employees,” John Pilla, Spirit senior vice president for Airbus programs, said in a statement.

The technology incorporated into the A350 XWB program are shaping the future of air travel, Pilla said.

Receiving the plane is a proud moment for Qatar Airways, Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a statement.

“After much anticipation, I am delighted that the day has come when we will welcome this latest generation aircraft into our rapidly expanding fleet,” Al Baker said.

The A350 XWB is the latest Airbus aircraft to take to the skies, “revolutionizing our fleet and redefining the way people fly,” Fabrice Bregier, Airbus president and CEO, said in a statement.

As of November, Airbus has won 778 orders from 41 customers for the airplane.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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